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Devour! Food Film Fest

Michael Howell, Founder & Executive Director of Devour! Food Film Fest

Michael Howell is the Founder and Executive Director of Devour! The Food Film Fest in Nova Scotia, Canada. For more than 25 years Michael has been a leading chef across the United States, Canada and The Bahamas. Michael hosts food and wine inspired travel to Italy through Tempestuous Culinary, and is currently the consulting Executive Chef at The Green Turtle Club and Marina in Abaco, Bahamas. From 2003-2013, Michael owned and operated Tempest, an award-winning restaurant in Wolfville, NS. Michael has twice cooked at New York’s prestigious James Beard House as featured chef. His cookbook, Atlantic Seafood, was runner up at the 2010 Taste Canada awards and was recently re-released in 2021 with an updated second edition


Deeply committed to Slow Food (he is the former Co-Chair of Slow Food Canada) and global food literacy, Michael was named a winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2011 for his contributions to improving the food system for all. He was the Nova Scotia Local Food Hero in 2010 and named Taste of Nova Scotia’s Culinary Ambassador (along with business partner Lia Rinaldo) in 2015. Devour! was awarded the 2017 Canadian Treasures award for Innovation in Hospitality by The George Brown Centre for Culinary Arts and in 2018 was awarded the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia Culinary Ambassador Award.

Lia Rinaldo, Managing Director of Devour! Food Film Fest

With a 30-year career in the film industry and a passion for food culture, Lia Rinaldo knew she’d found a perfect combination in Devour! The Food Film Fest. Starting in the movie business as a bright-eyed teenager, she honed her skills at Wormwoods Dog & Monkey Cinema, and later brought her considerable knowhow to the Atlantic Film Festival. Her interest in the culinary industry and enviable communication skills led her to a second career as a freelance food and travel writer for Eat North, Halifax Curated Magazine, Occasions Magazine, North American Traveller amongst other publications. A member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association, Lia also provides culinary marketing, social media, PR and fundraising consulting services throughout Nova Scotia.


Lia has been recognized for her exceptional contributions to the promotion of culture and the culinary arts. She has been honoured with the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia Crystal Tourism Award of Excellence Ambassador Award, the Taste of Nova Scotia Gary MacDonald Culinary Ambassador Award, Canadian Treasures Award for Innovation in Hospitality by The George Brown Centre for Culinary Arts, the Progress Women of Excellence Award in Arts & Culture and has twice been named to the Chronicle Herald Arts & Life Honour Roll. Lia currently serves on the national jury for Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants.

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